BY SPNW Staff 08:31PM 01/09/2014

Mariners Might Hire Tony La Russa As President

According to multiple reports, including this one from, Tony La Russa is a candidate to replace Chuck Armstrong as president of the Seattle Mariners. Club CEO Howard Lincoln told Bob Nightengale of USA Today Thursday that the Mariners have launched the interview process with two in-house candidates, but wouldn’t confirm that La Russa is a candidate. Nightengale reported that La Russa is on Seattle’s “short list” of candidates.

Armstrong, who started with the Mariners during the George Argyros ownership (1981-89) and has been actively involved in the franchise for more than two decades, will retire at the end of January.

According to Nightengale, La Russa, 69, has declined to talk about the Mariners opening, but said that he is interested in leaving his position as a special assistant to Major League Baseball to join a front office.

“I’m interested in getting to the competition upstairs,” La Russa said. “I’ve missed the competition since I left the field. I talked to the commissioner (Bud Selig) about it. It’s not a thing where you miss the dugout, but I miss the winning and losing. The situation has to be right.”

La Russa, elected to the Hall of Fame a month ago, managed the Chicago White Sox (1979-86), Oakland Athletics (1986-95) and St. Louis Cardinals (1996-11). He won three World Series and is a three time Manager of the Year.

At the MLB winter meetings in December, La Russa was asked about his interest in the Mariners’ presidency.

“Those decisions are made by other people,” the Seattle Times reported. “But I’d like to be part of of the competition again. That place has got great potential.”



  • jafabian

    Not sure who the other candidates are but LaRussa on paper would be a great hire. The drawback would be he had no front office experience. The plus is that he’s familiar with what it would take to win. He could certainly be a plus on recruiting free agents. I just wouldn’t want him to be like Pat Gillick: build a winner in a short time and leave when ownership tightens up the reins because they don’t like how the numbers look like on the spreadsheet.

    • art thiel

      The club presidency would morph into what Tony thinks will make it successful. If that works, perhaps Nintendo will sell at high water instead of low water.

  • RadioGuy

    Tony LaRussa is a smart guy and he has to know what he’d be dealing with in Seattle. I’d love to see someone like him running the Mariners, but anyone on the outside who’s familiar with that front office probably understands the short leash they’d be on as long as Howard Lincoln is the CEO. Tony isn’t that desperate for a job.

    My own guess for the “internal” hire is Bob Aylward. He can read a balance sheet and knows how to stay out of Howard’s way, which fills both prerequisites for the job. Having a genuine baseball background may hurt his chances, though.

    • jafabian

      Pat Gillick is a smart man as well. He came here, conquered, and left when Howard and Chuck stymied his efforts to make the M’s better and he couldn’t do the trades he wanted to do before the trade deadline. I got the impression his relationship with them was similar to Mike Holmgren’s with Bob Whittsitt. Things were promised and then conveniently forgotten. Whoever takes over as team president hopefully for their sake will get things in writing. M’s management’s reputation practically requires that.

      The beauty of LaRussa coming on is that there would be a possibility of him taking over as manager if McLendon didn’t work out. I always wanted him to come here since his White Sox days.

      • RadioGuy

        Agreed. Tony LaRussa in Seattle would be a coup, but…

        I’d say we’re ALL waiting for Howard to ride into the sunset if the sun had, in fact, been shining on this franchise the past decade. Instead, I guess we’re waiting for Howard to disappear as the darkness dissipates. Sort of like Lestat de Lioncourt.

      • art thiel

        Tony is a bright guy, and he and everyone in baseball knows the mess in Seattle. He will have done his research.

        Regarding Gillick, he put together a great 2001 team, but Moneyball has changed the MLB talent game. No more giving away draft picks for aging vets. Gillick won’t like that.

    • art thiel

      The Mariners need La Russa more than he needs them. He would demand terms and conditions that would allow him to succeed, and carrying out Lincoln’s orders will not work for that.

      So if he shows up here, that’s a good sign.

  • notaboomer

    tony larussa belongs in the hall of shame for looking the other way while he achieved managerial success through the PED use of his players. Instead he’s in the HOF and it is emblematic of what’s wrong with baseball.

  • westsydemariner

    If Howie the clown doesn’t hire La Russa and retire like Chuckles, I can forget a world series in my lifetime.

  • Wheelhaus

    And pigs might fly out my butt.